The Cleveland Bay is a breed of horse that originated in the Cleveland district of Yorkshire, England during the 17th century. The breed is uniformly bay, as many horses were bred as uniform carriage horses. Cleveland Bays are a combination of old pack horse blood mixed with Arabian, Andalusian, Barb, and even Thoroughbreds - creating the breed as it is today. The breed is almost extinct, as of 2006 only 550 pure Cleveland Bays existed. Cleveland Bays are one of the only non-draught horse breeds to originate in Great Britain, and the oldest horse breed in England.

Cleveland Bays are particularly popular fox hunting and show jumping horses - although many still pull carriages or even plows. Most of the horses in the Royal Stables are Cleveland Bays, as Queen Elizabeth II has a particular interest in the breed - even helping to save the breed in 1962 by purchasing one of the last purebred stallions. This breed has also influenced popular breeds such as the Oldenburg, and unpopular breeds such as the Vladimir Heavy Draft horse.


The Cleveland Bay is uniformly bay, such as the name suggests. The registry allows a small white star on the forehead, and nothing more. Horses must be solid brown, although most breeders prefer bright bay, all shades of bay are allowed as long as the horse has solid black points. All black leg points must include the knee - if the knee is brown, the color is considered faulty. This breed once had a dorsal stripe in the 18th century but it has since been bred out.

In some bloodlines, minimal white or light gray hair in the mane and tail are considered a characteristic of pure breeding. This is likely from wild bay and not genetic grey or silver. Wild bays in real life can have silvery hairs in their mane/tails, and sometimes fill in their lower leg points after the age of three which can mask that they were ever wild bay to begin with.

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